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20121202
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are battle zones. it is a city that has a big middle class that was a thriving commercial hub, and people do not know what is going to happen. physically, do a spot check points over the place. this used to be one of the most secure capitals of the middle east. host: where is president assad at the moment? caller: we seldom see him. occasionally he will make a public appearance. by and large, i think he is invisible. he is not highly visible for someone who was made such a determined effort to stay in power, despite what is happened to his country. occasionally he will give an interview to the foreign press or even the national press. he is more visible in posters at this point. host: the "l.a. times" bureau chief joining us here in washington. you can'm wondering if provide an update on what is happening in tripoli from your vantage point. caller: i just spent a couple of days up there. it is the second set of web and on. -- city of lebanon. sunni muslims car the prevalent population and prevalent rebel group. there's been periodic combat there between sunni gunmen and people who are part o
seen cutting-edge defenses protect israel, cities and rural areas. we have seen israel fight for and win a stop to rocket fire from gaza. but we've also seen the challenge of turning a ceasefire into a lasting calm; of helping palestinians committed to peace find a more constructive path to pursue it; of putting israel's peace with egypt on a stronger foundation; of making sure that iran can never acquire a nuclear weapon. and just yesterday, as you know, the united nations general assembly voted to grant the palestinian authority non-member observer state status, a step that will not bring us any closer to peace. when it comes to a region full of uncertainty, upheaval, revolution, this much is constant and clear -- america and israel are in it together. this is a friendship that comes naturally to us. americans honor israel as a homeland dreamed of for generations and finally achieved by pioneering men and women in my lifetime. we share bedrock beliefs in freedom, equality, democracy, and the right to live without fear. what threatens israel threatens america, and what stren
yield back. >> i caution some of the terminal city -- terminology. i saw some of the proposals. them slow i freeze this blo speed trains to know where. i got a number of letters from illinois same that they were somewhere. >> that only are you forthright about everything, but your passion for high-speed rail is so evident. i want to know that there are plenty members that stair that and not just for where we live up for a network that would eventually run across this country. i think that you are right. you have to start with a vision and then begin to build on that. we have talked an awful lot about a bottom up approach for what states want the what states define for their own need versus the federal government. in the discussion about high speed rail, it seems to be quite the reverse. when the applications came in from the state to the department, did you all have to twist arms to get applications? >> absolutely not. when florida decided not to except $2.3 billion, we put out a notice for that money. we had $10 billion worth of request. >> we put a notice out. we were flooded with
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